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Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

A race between the variants and the vaccines

While the U.S. is one of the leading countries in vaccinating its citizens against Covid-19, there is a troubling number of people who remain hesitant about vaccination. U.S. polls show that about 25% of the population is still reluctant to receive at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In April, the U.S. vaccination efforts suffered a blow after a rare blood-clotting disorder was reported in six women after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, with Hattiesburg Clinic MediSync® Clinical Research, reiterates the level of caution taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as they continue to thoroughly monitor the safety of all Covid-19 vaccines.

“Our vaccine monitoring process is so robust that we’re picking up effects that are on the order of one in a million,” Rouhbakhsh said. “The new technology that we have available with the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) allows health care officials to collect and analyze any of these adverse side effects in order to take the necessary precautions as we did with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

Rouhbakhsh said he understands people’s concerns with getting vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, and it is natural to have questions and concerns. Those who are hesitant about getting the Covid-19 vaccine, should talk with their primary care provider as they are available to address any questions or concerns surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine.

“You really only have two choices in terms of your ability to get antibodies. You’re either going to get this infection, or you’re going to these vaccines,” Rouhbakhsh said. “And the risks associated with the vaccines are much, much lower than the risks associated with infection.”

The likelihood of Covid-19 ceasing to exist is no longer the consensus among scientists and physicians. The goal of reaching herd immunity now seems unattainable due to the spread of new variants and persistent hesitancy about vaccines. The virus will likely evolve as new variants continue to spread, hence why it is so important, especially for those high-risk patients, to get vaccinated. Continued immunization will hopefully limit the severity and frequency of future outbreaks of this deadly disease.

For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine or where to get vaccinated, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com.

Keenon Walker


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